You asked for it!!
These frequently asked questions are designed to answer many of your
queries related to all aspects of travel to Costa Rica. Some of the
questions have been compiled with the help of our Help Desk personnel,
while others have been previous inquiries from past clients. Click on
a question of concern below, and don't forget to keep checking back
with us to find more Q & A's. And remember, there is more information
about Costa Rica and traveling at General Information and Travel Tips.
Send us your questions using our General Information Contact Form.
- Can you send us some pamphlets
or something saying that you are legitimate business....
- Are you located in Costa
- How long have you been
- How many trips do you
book a year?
- Do you have referrals
or satisfied customer remarks?
- Kayaking sounds fun but
we are novices. Is that a problem?
- The last horseback ride
I took was lame. How long are the trails and can we trot or run the
horses OR do the horses take us to spectacular views that make it
more rewarding than hiking. Don't get me wrong, horses can be fun.
But sometimes here in the U.S.A. they are preoccupied with injury
and lawsuits that the ride is no more than a pony ride following in
single file on "big ponies".
- We have heard much about
the Osa Peninsula and Corcovado National Park that we were wondering
what the differences are between staying OUTSIDE the park in Drake
Bay versus trying to actually stay almost INSIDE the park. Could you
give us some idea about what the environs are like at Drake Bay?
- We have heard that Manuel
Antonio is incredibly beautiful.. but we also had a vision of having
a part of the vacation be just R&R in a beachfront resort (pool,
swimming,tropical drinks.. you know the image). I know that to go
to beaches at Manuel Antonio we would have to take a bus to the park,
pay to go in to the park, etc.. Do you think that this is still the
best place to go?? (It may very well be...)
- What is the climate like
and when is the best time to visit?
- Do I need a passport
to travel to Costa Rica?
- Can I drink the water?
- Whom and how much should I tip?
- What is the traditional
menu I would expect to eat in Costa Rica?
- What air carriers fly
to Costa Rica?
- I have 35mm camera equipment
should I buy my film here or buy it there?
- I also have a camcorder
will I be able to buy film for it (8mm)and can I recharge my batteries
with your electric current (I use 110 volt)?
- What should I pack and
what kinds of clothe should I bring?
- We have read in our guidebooks
that to drive in Costa Rica is not really recommended.
- I know why I'm attracted
to Costa Rica but can you tell me what are some of the top reasons
that people are choosing Costa Rica today?
- What is the difference
between a Cloud Forest and a Rain Forest?
- What are some traditional
food items for Costa Rican families?
- I can't find the information
I need. Can I email you with my question?
- How do I reserve a room
at a hotel listed on your site?
- How does Costa Rica Tourism
and Travel pick which places to list?
- What if I know about
a great place you don't cover?
- Something on your site
is incorrect -- how do I tell you?
- How can I get you to
list my business on your directory?
Q. Can you send
us some pamphlets or something saying that you are legitimate business....
A. We can provide references from
past guests and clients who have dealt with us in the past. We are members
of the Costa Rican/American Chamber of Commerce, Grupo Pro-Imagen (a
professional association dedicated to the betterment of the image of
tourism in Costa Rica). We are also listed in several guidebooks including;
The New Key to Costa Rica by Beatrice Blake and Anne Becher; Wingbow
Press and the Costa Rica Handbook by Christopher Baker; Moon Publications.
Q. Are you located
in Costa Rica?
Q. How long have
you been in business?
A. We have been in business since 1997
Q. How many trips
do you book a year?
A. On average we book over
400 clients to Costa Rica
Q. Do you have
referrals or satisfied customer remarks?
A. List of references:
||Dr. Tony Rostain
||Terry Allen & Jocelyne
||Dr. Tom Bell
Visit the Rain Rorest
Tours Guestbook for more
Q. Kayaking sounds
fun but we are novices. Is that a problem?
A. There's no extensive experience
required, but what is important is that you're in good physical shape,
and have the right attitude. In any case your guide will learn from
you and program the tour accordingly.
Q. The last horseback
ride I took was lame. How long are the trails and can we trot or run
the horses OR do the horses take us to spectacular views that make it
more rewarding than hiking. Don't get me wrong, horses can be fun. But
sometimes here in the U.S.A. they are preoccupied with injury and lawsuits
that the ride is no more than a pony ride following in single file on
A. You can get as adventurous as
you'd like and your abilities allow. If there are open spaces and you
wish to gallop then by all means do so. Unlike the U.S. here you're
pretty much left to make your own decisions (within reason of course),
and the emphasis is on personal responsibility.
Q. We have heard
much about the Osa Peninsula and Corcovado National Park that we were
wondering what the differences are between staying OUTSIDE the park
in Drake Bay versus trying to actually stay almost INSIDE the park.
Could you give us some idea about what the environs are like at Drake
A. There are no facilities inside
the park boundary. Drake Bay and the Osa Peninsula are the kinds of
places that conjure up the images most people have of Costa Rica--remote,
rustic, and exquisitely beautiful, with beaches, crystal-blue water,
primary jungle, scores of red macaws, pelicans, more monkeys than you'll
see anywhere else in the country, and plenty of activities like sportfishing,
snorkeling, scuba diving, and ocean kayaking. One of the best things
about Drake Bay is getting there. The scenic flight along the Pacific
coastline from San Jose, the bus ride through endless banana plantations
to Sierpe, and from there the trip down the Rio Sierpe(about 1 hour)
until bursting out into the sometimes slightly treacherous river mouth/bay.
Q. We have heard
that Manuel Antonio is incredibly beautiful.. but we also had a vision
of having a part of the vacation be just R&R in a beachfront resort
(pool, swimming,tropical drinks.. you know the image). I know that to
go to beaches at Manuel Antonio we would have to take a bus to the park,
pay to go in to the park, etc.. Do you think that this is still the
best place to go?? (It may very well be...)
A. Manuel Antonio is incredibly
beautiful and offers a combination of activities and scenery not found
elsewhere. However, if a beach front setting is what you have in mind
this might not be the place, since there are no beach front hotels there.
The free beach at the entrance to the park is nice but not as nice as
the ones inside. The entrance fees to the parks were reduced recently
to $7.00 each.
Q. What is the
climate like and when is the best time to visit?
A. Almost ideal year-round, the
climate is a moderate 72 degrees in the highlands, while the lowlands
and coastal areas range from the low 70's to the high 90's. Evenings
in San Jose are free of humid heat, and beaches are cooled by ocean
breezes. Rainy season occurs from the end of May to November, with the
heaviest rainfall in October. The Atlantic or Caribbean side is driest
from February thru April, with a short "summer" in June and
July, and the wettest months from November thru January. However, you
should be prepared for rain at any time during the year in this part
of the country. The Pacific side and central parts of the country are
driest from January through March.
A lot of people have a misconception of our "rainy season",
imagining that it's "monsoon like" and that it never stops
raining. Nothing could be further from the truth. We can normally be
assured of sunny mornings followed by some rain in the afternoons or
evenings, and even plenty of days without rain. The Caribbean experiences
a "short summer" during this time, and their weather can be
quite pleasant. Avg. highs are between 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit and
avg. lows between 72-75 degrees.
Q. Do I need a passport to travel to Costa Rica?
A. Yes, a valid
passport is required to enter and visas are needed for certain nationalities
ahead before traveling. For
more information click here.
The citizens of the following nationalities can
stay for 90 days without a consular visa if International Agreements
|Republic of Bulgaria
| Czech Republic
States of America
Q. Can I drink
A.Yes, you can drink the water!
Pure and suitable for drinking throughout most of the country.
Q. Whom and how much should I tip?
A. Upon arriving at the airport, tip the standard porter rate of $1 per bag; more if your luggage is very heavy.
When you arrive at your hotel after a long flight, first things first: If you take a shuttle van, tip the driver $2 per person. The bellman, who will be more than happy to assist you with your bags and the door, should receive $1 to $2 per bag. Tip when he shows you to your room and again if he assists you upon checkout. Tip more if he provides any additional service.
If you're taking a tour, tip a local guide $2 per person for a half-day tour, $3 for full-day tour. Tip a private guide more. If you are on a multi-day tour with someone who travels with you for several days and is essentially in charge - tip them anywhere from $5–$10 per person per day.
Most restaurants in Costa Rica include a 10% "service charge" on the bill but if the service is exemplary an additional 5 - 10% should be considered.
This tipping etiquette will hopefully give you a general idea of the standard tipping rate for different stops along your journey. You are always welcome to tip more when the service is excellent, and when you do, you are sure to see the red carpet treatment all the way. Enjoy your vacation, and don't forget to tip!
Q. What is the
traditional menu I would expect to eat in Costa Rica?
A. A traditional Costa Rican breakfast
consists of "gallo pinto" (black beans and rice), eggs,
tortillas and sour cream, with coffee and fresh fruit juice.
A typical Costa Rica lunch known as "casado", includes:
rice and beans, one choice of meat (beef, chicken, pork, or fish),
salad, fried plantains (a type of banana, very sweet and very tasty).
Dinner is pretty much whatever you like, and fish and seafood here
is excellent, well priced, and fresh, as are the fruits and vegetables.
Of course Costa Rica produces some of the finest coffee in the world
and it's not uncommon to see bumper stickers around proclaiming that
"Juan Valdez drinks Costa Rican coffee".
Q. What air
carriers fly to Costa Rica?
A. U.S. carriers servicing Costa
Rica include; American, United, Continental and Delta Airlines, Spirit Airlines and TACA
the official Costa Rican carrier.
Q. I have 35mm
camera equipment should I buy my film here or buy it there.
A. Film and batteries are expensive
here so you should stock up before you leave. Bring fast film if you’re
planning to shoot pictures in the rain forest. About 90
percent of the light gets filtered out at the canopy level
and never reaches the jungle.
Q. I also have
a camcorder will I be able to buy film for it (8mm)and can I recharge
my batteries with your electric current (I use 110 volt)?
A. Same advice in regards to film
applies as in the previous question. Standard current is 110volts,
Q. What should
I pack and what kinds of clothes should I bring?
A. Pack light: Baggage carts are
scarce at airports, and luggage restrictions are tight. Bring comfortable,
hand-washable clothing. T-shirts and shorts are acceptable in San
José (during the day, if planning to go out in the evening slacks
are highly recommended as some restaurants won't admit you in shorts
or sandals). Loose-fitting long-sleeve shirts and pants are recommended
if you take any day trips out to smaller towns, where immodest attire
is frowned upon. Bring a large hat to block the sun from your face
and neck. Pack a light sweater or jacket for San José's cool nights
and early mornings and for trips up volcanoes. Sturdy sneakers or
hiking boots are essential if you plan to do a lot of sightseeing
and hiking. Waterproof hiking sandals or other footwear that lets
your feet breathe are good for strolling about town, and also for
beach walking, fording streams, and navigating the myriad mudholes
you'll find on rain and cloud forest trails.
Q. We have read
in our guidebooks that to drive in Costa Rica is not really recommended.
A. Don't be misled by the information
in the guidebooks about driving here. Although there are certain hazards
to consider - the potholes and aggressive drivers being the primary
ones, you shouldn't have any problems sticking to some good defensive
habits and being patient. In Costa Rica it's generally not a good
idea when driving to "...do as the Romans". Also, our traffic
police is not prone to harass tourists nor extort bribes.
Q. I know why
I'm attracted to Costa Rica but can you tell me what are some of the
top reasons that people are choosing Costa Rica today?
A. The majority of visitors to
Costa Rica come seeking the beaches and water related sports as demonstrated
by the fact that 76.6% of exiting respondents have listed that as
activities they participated in during their stay.
67.3% participated in the observation of the flora and
fauna, of which we assume a majority visited one or several
national parks or reserves.
49.2% went on hikes (guided or self-guided)
47.2% listed birdwatching
15.1% went rafting or kayaking
and 7.0% listed special interests.
Q. What is the
difference between a Cloud Forest and a Rain Forest?
A. Actually what is commonly known
as a "cloud forest" is an example of "lower mountain
rain forest" which are found around the very tops of volcanoes.
Here the forest has shrunk in stature, with the canopy at 35 to 30
meters tall, but with occasional oaks reaching upwards of 50 meters
at the lower altitudes. Buttresses on trees are uncommon, and the
understory is dense. The ground is covered with moss and herbaceous
plants. The higher you go, the colder and mistier it gets, eventually
stunting the plant growth enough to create "elfin forest".
The tropical wet forest or "rain forest" is the most species-rich
life zone in Costa Rica. The forest is tall and evergreen and has
distinct layers to the vegetation. Canopy trees are 45 to 55 meters
tall, with some emergents even larger. Trees tend to have high, well-developed
buttresses. Subcanopy trees are 30 to 40 meters tall, and have narrow
conical crowns and slender boles that are often twisted or crooked.
Stilt-rooted palms are often abundant. There are lots or dwarf palms
in the shrub layer.
Q. What are
some traditional food items for Costa Rican families?
A. Due to its' geographical location
and climate, Costa Rica has a wealth of fruits and vegetables that,
when combined with the interplay of native and European ingredients
and culture, translate into a unique costa rican flavor. The basic
staples of the Costa Rican diet are: rice, beans, and tortillas, which
consist primarily of corn. The ingredients used by Costa Rican cooks
include simple native foods, such as chayotes, avocados, and the ever
present corn. Costa Rican cuisine is also characterized by its' mildness
and comes as a surprise to many North Americans who might have traveled
through Mexico and expect to find the same love spicy chilies in Costa
Rican foods. Chilies are used to some degree, however, they are most
commonly used in hot sauces with accompany broiled meats and poultry.
Tubers, such as sweet potatoes and cassava, commonly known as "yuca"
frequently accompany lunch and dinner meals. In many dishes yuca is
often substituted for potato, perhaps boiled and mashed, fried to
exquisite crispness to accompany meat and sandwiches instead of fries,
or simply boiled and served with butter and garlic. Plantains, a type
of banana, are another Costa Rican favorite, and are most often boiled,
mashed, stuffed with cheese, or fried to accompany meats or bean dishes.
Unlike bananas, plantains are much larger and need to be cooked to
Q. I can't find
the information I need. Can I email you with my question?
A. That's just what we do, provide
you with one-on-one travel assistance based on our years of living
and working in Costa Rica.
Q. How do I
reserve a room at a hotel listed on your site?
A. E-mail us at with the form
provided in our site and tell us what dates you're interested in and
what types of accommodations you require. One of our travel counselors
will respond with availability and price information within 24 hours.
Q. How does
Costa Rica Tourism and Travel pick which places to list?
A. Well, all the listings on the
site come from our on site inspections conducted regularly to ensure
that all of the places selected adhere to the highest standards possible.
If you disagree with any of our assessments, please write to us. We
welcome your input.
Q. What if I
know about a great place you don't cover?
A. We're always on the look-out
for terrific new finds, and we also need to know if you've suffered
at a place that we list in our directory, so please write to us.
on your site is incorrect -- how do I tell you?
A. We really want our information
to be as accurate as possible, so please do write to us about errors
-- we make corrections on a continual basis. Either write to firstname.lastname@example.org or use our Contact form.
Q. How can I
get you to list my business on your directory?
A. If you would like to be considered
for evaluation, call us at Tel (506)22967074) /Fax: (506)22967054 or fax us your brochure
or information packet.